EU provides EUR 15 million to help Albania improve flood management and risk preventionNov 17, 2015
Representatives of the European Union (EU) and Government of Albania travelled to the region of Vlora today to visit the infrastructure works along the Vjosa river undertaken by the EU Floods Recovery Programmme. With a fund of EUR 15 million, the EU is assisting the Government of Albania to recover from the severe floods that hit the country in early 2015.
Prime Minister Edi Rama, Head of Unit for Albania at the European Commission Michela Matuella, Minister of Agriculture Edmond Panariti, EU Head of Delegation Ambassador Romana Vlahutin, UNDP Country Director Yesim Oruc, local authorities, farmers and local community members discussed about the importance of infrastructure improvement for flood protection and the resumption of economic activity and agricultural production in the affected areas.
"We have one single objective: to reduce to the minimum the risk that natural disasters of this kind happen again in future. We want to make sure your land is put in security. That the crops are protected, and lives are not in danger. The EU solidarity capacity is at times challenged. I see here today a clear sign that the EU solidarity is as solid as ever," Mrs Matuella said.
Following the severe floods that hit Albania in February 2015, the European Union, the United Nations and the World Bank, in partnership with the Government of Albania, joined efforts to prepare a post-disaster needs assessment (PDNA). The assessment focused on the most severely impacted sectors of agriculture, irrigation, and drainage and flood protection infrastructure. It also looked into strengthening of the early warning, preparedness and response systems.
The EU Floods Recovery Programme, which builds on the PDNA, aims to strengthen the country's infrastructures for a better flood protection and preparedness, and to support the most affected and vulnerable sectors of agriculture. It also aims to strengthen resilience and disaster risk preparedness and prevention in southeast Albania.
The programme is composed of three main components. The first component, implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), aims to restore key flood protection infrastructure, to ensure protection of agricultural land and livelihoods and enable the resumption of economic activities and agricultural production in the identified priority regions of Vlora, Fier, Gjirokastra, Berat and Korca. This component also includes capacity building and awareness among local authorities about social impacts of disasters on vulnerable categories and works to strengthen their preparedness and resilience capacities so as to respond to community expectations. The component amounts to EUR 6 million.
The second component of the programme aims to upgrade the civil defence preparedness and disaster risk reduction and is implemented in partnership with the Albanian General Directorate for Civil Emergencies. It amounts to 2.5 million Euros.
The third component provides compensation and investment grants to around 4,000 farmers and farming households and around 200 households/ agribusinesses in order to support restoration of their livelihoods and enhance their resilience. The financial support will be soon mobilized in coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture for an overall amount of EUR 6.4 million.
The Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) following the floods of February 2015 showed that a total of 9 regions and 53 municipalities were affected by the floods. The total population in the flooded areas is 397,316 persons. Around 12,225 hectares of arable and planted land were flooded, affecting crops at various stages of development. Approximately 15,000 farming households were affected and nearly 10,000 hectares of agriculture land damaged. The PDNA estimated the damages, losses and immediate needs to EUR 110 million